According to a Cargill spokesperson, the new facility will help the company fulfil its customers’ need for ‘inspiration, innovation and speed-to-market take precedence in today’s dynamic chocolate market’.
Inge Demeyere, Managing Director for Cargill Chocolate Europe, said: “We wanted to create a place where customers can explore the entire world of chocolate under one roof, enabling them to taste, feel, smell and see chocolate in every form.
“At the House of Chocolate, customers can collaborate with our experts and leverage our resources to create products inspired by the latest trends. It is a place designed to bring ideas to life and quickly move them to the market.”
Cargill said that the idea-to-execution concept begins in the facility’s chocolate experience centre, where inspiration and innovation go hand in hand.
The House of Chocolate will allow its customers to explore market trends around health, sustainability, and sensory experiences, and brainstorm new product concepts.
Collaboration is central to the House of Chocolate experience, the company said, as it serves as the European R&D hub for Cargill’s chocolate, coating and filling activities and its 40 chocolate engineers. It’s also home to a unique pilot plant, giving brands the opportunity to rapidly prototype new products in small batches for greater efficiency and speed to market.
Belgium has been a focal point of Cargill’s global chocolate business since the early 2000s due to its unique position in the chocolate world globally and the strong reputation of Belgian chocolate. Cargill’s cocoa & chocolate business has also benefitted from extensive investment to meet customer demands for vegan, extra white, and sugar-reduced chocolate. It has also strengthened its presence in the gourmet space by acquiring businesses such as Leman Decorations and Smet.